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Kate Calls for More Children’s Mental Health Action at Place2Be Conference

The Duchess brought back a Matthew Williamson dress for today’s Place2Be Headteachers School Conference in London.Stephen Lock / i-Images / Polaris

It was a brisk, windy day in London when students from Crescent Primary School greeted the Duchess; she was welcomed with a bouquet from Aaliah Beckford–Cordier.  This gives you an idea how windy it was this afternoon when Kate arrived at Place2Be headquarters.Chris Jackson/Pool/Nunn Syndication/POLARIS

Place2Be is a school-based support program for children coping with problems like neglect, bereavement, domestic violence, and other traumatic issues. Kate is the charity’s royal patron.

Last night we saw Kate deliver remarks at the Fostering Network awards, today the Duchess was at the podium again. Place2Be conference organizers asked her to deliver opening remarks for the Conference’s afternoon sessions.

I often get asked why I decided to spend time highlighting the mental health of children. I imagine my answer might be similar to many of yours.
I know that I was lucky. My parents and teachers provided me with a wonderful and secure childhood where I always knew I was loved, valued and listened to.

Chris Jackson/Nunn Syndication/POLARIS

She talked about being fortunate to grow up in a “wonderful…secure childhood” where she she knew she was “loved, valued and listened to.” 

Of course, not all children have the anchor of a strong family. Many will arrive through your school gates feeling a real lack of love and devotion in their lives. This often leaves them feeling insecure and without confidence and trust in the world around them. That is why your work is so important.

The Duchess spoke strongly about the need for more assistance in the children’s mental health arena.

Parents, teachers and other school staff need the tools to help these young people early in their lives. And the earlier, the better. It is proven that early action prevents problems later in life.

Kate spoke for roughly 3 to 3-1/2 minutes. Royal correspondents Richard Palmer of The Express and Victoria Murphy of The Mirror commented on the improvement in Kate’s public speaking skills. More from Richard Palmer’s story:

Aides said the address, at the Place2be Headteacher Conference in London, was “very much her own” and one of several speeches she is expected to make when deemed appropriate in the coming months.

Following Kate’s opening remarks the afternoon portion of the conference was filled with presentations, speeches from experts in child psychology and other fields, as well as a session when administrators heard directly from students benefiting from Place2Be programs. Below, Lucie and Harry via Place2Be’s Facebook album of the Conference.

Place2Be Conference Studnets Speaking via P2B FB

Kate watching one of the afternoon’s presentations.Chris Jackson/Pool/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Today the Duchess was in an ensemble previously worn for a Tusk Trust benefit in April of 2012, a dress from designer Matthew Williamson’s pre-fall 2012 collection. It features ornate beading, an exposed zipper in the back, and peplum detail at the waist, a design element we see on several of Kate’s dresses, jackets and tops.  Weir Photos/Splash News

She accessorized with the pieces worn for the film premiere in 2012: her Natasha clutch by Emmy Shoes (£350, about $535 at today’s exchange rate).Emmy Shoes/Stephen Lock, i-Images

And her Emmy Valerie heels, also in carbon grey (£400, roughly$610).  The Valerie is described as having a “…discreet platform to help manage the sexy 115mm heel.”  That is about a 4.5″ heel, probably 4″ when the platform is taken into consideration. Emmy Shoes/Stephen Lock, i-Images

Kate also wore her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch. We show it at Amazon ($4233),  it is also offered at Saks ($5750) in the US; in the UK you will also find it at Saks ($5200); the watch is also available at Selfridges (£3800, about $5900).Kate Cartier Watch at Selfridges Montage Place 2Be November 18 2015

And she had on her relatively new Kiki McDonough Lauren pave diamond leaf earrings.

Splash/Kiki McDonough/POLARIS

Splash/Kiki McDonough/POLARIS

This was a good choice for Kate on a day when the focus really needed to be on what she said, not what she wore. She looked elegant but nothing about the dress, bag, shoes or jewelry took away from the focus on her speech. Unfortunately Kate’s bangs/fringe were a distraction, especially during her speech.James Whatling/Splash News

Kate’s speech today dovetails perfectly with an exclusive story by Camilla Tominey in the Sunday Express about the Duchess’s desire to demonstrate she is “more than just a pretty face.” From that story:

The mother-of-two plans to step out of William’s shadow to take her own charity work to “the next level”, according to royal insiders.

This portion of Camilla’s article quotes an unnamed Palace source:

“When it comes to her charities, the Duchess has always read up but now she feels it is time to speak up too. We have already seen her leading the conversation about children’s mental health and she has taken great confidence from that.

“This is all coming from the Duchess. She is going to be making more speeches and we will be hearing her voice coming through on a lot more royal engagements from now on.”

Behind palace gates, household staff have become increasingly frustrated by the media focus on Kate’s clothes….

Obviously this is What Kate Wore, not What Kate Said. HoweverI think today in particular, it is important to report on what appears to be a major change for the Duchess in the role she is taking with causes and charities that she is passionate about. Our coverage of Kate’s events and engagements will continue as it is now, with posts first relating information about the function Kate is attending, and then covering what Kate wore, but I think the steps Kate is taking merit noting in this space.

Here you see the 2012 and 2015 looks side by side, along with the dress on a Matthew Williamson model in the center of the montage. Some may remember that Kate’s version of the dress had the jeweled trim seen at the cuffs added to the neckline of her dress.

As Marked

A case could be made that the frock was too dressy for an afternoon workshop and conference, that the heavy embellishment at the neckline and cuffs make it more of a cocktail dress. I can see the argument, but think it worked for today’s engagement, one that was probably a little nerve-wracking. I could be mistaken, but I imagine Kate wanted to be comfortable, both literally and figuratively, in what she wore for the Conference.

We will see you Friday for all of Kate and William’s engagements in North Wales.


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Saturday 21st of November 2015

I have this dress. You could order it with the collar for an additional fee. The dress is almost a lavender color than grey in person and it's really pretty with the turquoise and yellow beading. I wore it with suede heels and clutch in dark teal (the color of the clutch the model is holding) from Prada. The dark teal brought out the teal in the beading. I haven't tried it with dark grey heels and clutch like the Duchess. I loved the earrings she wore the first time she wore this dress. The jewelry (watch, earrings) she wore this time didn't go with the dress and made it less "wow!" than her first photo in it.

Marcie Irish

Monday 24th of December 2018

I think Kate looks beautiful in whatever she wears. I dont get y the media commdnts on her clothes just think of her as a good person, a mother & a wife. She is so beautiful in & outside. I can see from pictures what a good mom I amshe is & the love for William & theirs children she has. Keep up the good work Kate. An admirer that I am. My name is Marcie Irish. God Bless u & ur Family!


Saturday 21st of November 2015

not a fan of this dress or the hair


Friday 20th of November 2015

It is a lovely dress, although I will probably never be a huge fan of peplum type dresses. I don't think it is too dressy for a day event. A dress like that without the beaded neckline would need some kind of necklace to give it a lift. What I do wish is that she had worn her hair either half up as for the previous day, or in a pony tail as for the trip to Wales, all that hair flicking was distracting, especially as what I think she said was heartfelt. Sadly the head tossing got in the way.


Friday 20th of November 2015

I really like this dress and I liked it the first time she wore it, but I never thought it was a particularly "dressy" dress. The color and style of the beading make the dress more casual in my eyes since they have a sort of boho vibe. I think if the beading were shiny, jet black, or silver or gold it might come off as a fancier dress.

As for the fringe, if she could have stopped by the ladies room to check her hair and flip that one chunk to the other side before giving her speech, it would have been a big improvement!


Friday 20th of November 2015

She has got the best legs!

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